When I was looking for my placement I did the following:
- I went to careers fairs at my Uni, which provided the opportunity to meet many companies from the local businesses to the likes of HP, Intel etc.
- Utilized my Uni's careers department as much as possible. They helped me refine my CV, and also advertised many positions
- Made the most of my lecturers; many have extensive industry contacts and several classmates got placements through them
- Researched non-stop, from finding the placement advertisements to how to prepare for the application tests, interviews etc. Note: As well as using the big sites like ratemyplacement.co.uk trawl through the actual IT company websites, and send off enquiry emails with a CV and Cover Letter attached even if they aren't actively advertising; it's how I got my placement.
As far as I am aware not being on a sandwich course just means your degree won't be classified as a sandwich degree like it is when you normally do a placement year. Somene from the year above on my course failed the 2nd year so after he came back from placement had to repeat the 2nd year and eventually just got a standard degree.
If you're willing to put the work in then you should have no problems getting a placement, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I am about to finish my placement year and I have learnt so much it is unbelievable!
I would definitely advise completing a placement. I did a placement in my third year, not only does the placement give you a knowledge of working in industry, if you apply for a job after completing the placement you should stand out due to your experience.
In regards to companies if you go to your careers service they should be able to identify local placement opportunities for you. If you are wanting to look further afield you could look on the job board i work for, there are a number of graduate placements on the site already.
If you need any help with anything else or have any trouble using the site send me a PM.